For many countries in the so-called developing world (I don’t like this expression at all, but don’t know which other one to use) western Europe and the USA are role models. I just heard it again last week during a 2 hour workshop with 130 teachers in Pakistan and at a conference in the Arab World. They think – because we are “wealthy” – it is a good idea to copy us. Especially our education systems. If they do have money – like Saudi Arabia and the Emirates – they build private schools, spent an awful lot of money to bring in the “best” profs from allover the world, focus strictly on management and economic growth – and repeat the same mistakes we’ve been making. If they have less money, new technologies are a great hope, but they are widely seen as tools and not as a new culture – an issue which we, in the west, are in the middle of experiencing it. For more information about this particular issue, check out discussions on educational leadership programs which will help you find classes in this field.
If you tell them – as I did last week – that the western education system isn’t build to suit 21st century needs, the look rather surprised.
They don’t know that there is a 30% drop out rate in public schools in the US.
They don’t know that many of us are working to revolutionize education.
They don’t know that we fail in focussing only on economic growth.
They don’t know that parts of our population become poorer and poorer.
They don’t know about the success story in Finnland.
They don’t know that private schools aren’t necessarily the best.
They don’t understand why the major goal of education is NOT to make the most money, but to live a happy and fullfilling life.
They understand technology as a tool.
When you look how they set up their educational systems, you immediately see the mistakes we’ve made for many years in the western world. They copy them!
We, in the western world are pretty much aware, that we have this role model.
I think we should help them (and us) to write the code for tomorrow!
We only win when everybody wins!
BTW: this is true for many other areas as well: environment, climate change …
It means to tell them that we are struggling as well.
So, give them the chance to catch up with us by NOT repeating our mistakes, but by building something better for all of us together!
In the field of education I see many examples and initiatives. I’ve listed a few here:
- John Hardy: My green school dream
- Tinkering School – Gever Tulley
- Finnland – equality of opportunity
- Ben Gurion University – School of Life
- Innovate Rwanda
- Michael Wesch – Rethinking education
Please feel free to add!
We should copy them and spread the word.